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Suing the skeptics

Guest post by Anthony Cox on the legal side and on ABC bias

Anthony Cox and David Stockwell sent the letter below to the ABC in response to the article Climate change ‘brown wash’. They wrote:

“Dear sir, On the 27th July I sent you this e-mail:

“Dear sir,

On the 26th July, on Unleashed, an article by Kellie Tranter was published;


Since the article was very critical of the sceptical approach to anthropogenic global warming [AGW] it would be reasonable for a sceptical view to be published in response, especially in this election period. Accordingly I have attached a response entitled “suing the Sceptics” which was the theme of Ms Tranter’s piece. Details of the authors of the submitted article are here:

Anthony Cox, lawyer and secretary of The Climate Sceptics.

Dr David Stockwell, environmental scientist.


Anthony Cox”

I have yet to receive a response from you. The article, with some small typo corrections, is again attached. I can only repeat that, since Ms Tranter’s article was critical of the sceptics’ position, a reply is justified in the name of balance which is part of your Charter. Could you please acknowledge this e-mail and whether you intend to allow a response to the Tranter article.
Anthony Cox Secretary, The Climate Sceptics.”

[Note from Jo – I’ve added the subheaders below, and a couple of comments […] inline. ]

Suing the Skeptics

In her ABC Unleashed article Kellie Tranter recommends litigation under the Trade Practices Act (TPA) and its state equivalents against sceptics. This is a novel suggestion. Generally litigation under Part V of the TPA requires two things: firstly the creation of a perception of expertise, and secondly, the use of that perception of expertise to promote a product which people rely on to their detriment because it is defective. The novelty here is that it is the believers in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) who are promoting the product not the sceptics. And it is the general public who are being forced through their power bills and the cascade throughout the economy of the cost of the AGW ‘measures’ to rely on the product of AGW to their detriment.

Civil or criminal?

Still, we should be thankful for small mercies. Other AGW believers want to by-pass the civil litigation and take a more summary approach to sceptics. Prominent AGW believers like James Hansen, Joe Romm, Al Gore and Paul Krugman want sceptics to be charged with criminal offences including but not limited to “treason against the planet”. Other AGW believers like Clive Hamilton want the democratic process to be suspended while erstwhile Senate candidate, Lee Rhiannon runs workshops training people in how to break the law and be civilly disobedient. Robert Manne just wants us all to do what the clever AGW scientists tell us to do.

Legally speaking, skeptics are winning

Ms Tranter may not be aware but there have been several prominent law cases where AGW was put under legal scrutiny. The most infamous is the case against Al Gore’s pro-AGW film, An Inconvenient Truth. The 2007 case was brought by a parent who objected to the screening of Gore’s film. The English High Court found the film had at least nine inaccuracies, that the film was a political work and if shown without warning of its inaccuracies would be political indoctrination. Closer to home in 2007 the Queensland Land and Resources Tribunal dismissed action brought by the Queensland Conservation Council against Xstrata in relation to the CO2 emissions which would be caused by its Newlands coal mine expansion. The Tribunal dismissed the case because it found that the evidence supplied by the Australian Conservation Foundation was exaggerated. Recently, in the NSW Land and Environment Court an action brought by members of the green group, Rising Tide, had its first stage thrown out. The Court ruled that Macquarie Generation had an implied authority rather than just a licence to emit CO2 during the production of electricity, much of which was no doubt used, along with taxpayers’ money, by the NSW Environment Defender’s Office (EDO), which ran the case. Not content with this failure the EDO is now pursuing the novel approach of seeking a limit be placed on the CO2 emissions; in effect, a limit on the amount of electricity. [Ed’s Note: For more EDO handiwork check out the Thompsons story — JN]

Can’t win debates either

As well as being unsuccessful in litigation AGW believers are also very unlucky in public debates. In a famous 2007 debate, the world’s leading climate scientist, Richard Lindzen and his team of Philip Stott and the late, lamented Michel Crichton, on the basis of audience vote, defeated the AGW team of Richard Somerville, Gavin Schmidt and Brenda Ekwurzel. Lord Monckton had several debates while he was in Australia in February of this year. He and Professor Ian Plimer debated Professor Barry Brook and reporter Graham Readfearn and then Lord Monckton debated prominent alarmist Tim Lambert in Sydney. Monckton won both of his Australian debates as well as a subsequent debate at Oxford in July of this year. It is no wonder that Al Gore will not engage with such leading sceptics as Lord Monckton.

[And if I do say so myself, Dr Glikson may have instigated our Great Debate but after my fifth round response, he asked if he could post again, and two months later … nothing yet — JN]

The bulk of Ms Tranter’s article concerns itself with casting aspersions on the motives of sceptics. The idea of self-interest is disingenuous because the AGW position is the one which has enormous funding supporting it as well as attendant status, economically, politically and academically. Given that AGW is the Zeitgeist it is bizarre to even suggest that sceptics are motivated by money, glory or status. Most of them have the seat out of their pants and operate on the smell of an oily rag. The motivation of most sceptics is that they dislike and oppose the fundamental untruth of AGW and the great detriment the proposed remedies will have on human society. They are also concerned about the effect that AGW will have on the integrity of science as an honest, transparent broker of evidence and information. The University of East Anglia e-mail scandal and the deficiencies of the three enquiries have greatly eroded public trust in science.

Where’s the evidence?

Ms Tranter lists the usual suspects as evidence of AGW: the poles melting, the warming ocean, the enhanced greenhouse effect, “consistent global scale temperature trends”; none of these are evidence of AGW, even if right.; for instance the ocean heat content has fallen since 2003 and the Arctic was warmer and had less ice in the 1930’s. As for the enhanced greenhouse, in 2007 Ferenc Miskolczi showed that the greenhouse had not changed in the 60 years of NASA measurement. Miskolczi’s peer reviewed papers have not been rebutted because they are based on real measurements not computer programs like AGW.

Ten reasons why the theory has failed:

  1. Previous levels of CO2 were much higher than today and correlated with temperatures higher, the same and lower than today.
  2. Movements of CO2 do not correlate with movements in temperature; during the 20th Century from 1940-1976 CO2 increased but temperatures dropped; the same from 1998. Generally, throughout geologic history CO2 follows temperature movements.
  3. According to the IPCC the Climate sensitivity of a doubling of CO2 will result in a temperature increase of 3.2C. Since 1900 CO2 has increased 40% which should have produced a temperature increase of 1.3C. However temperature has only increased by 0.7C. Of that 0.7C increase solar influence has been 0.1-0.4C and natural variation at least 0.3C.
  4. The mechanism by which CO2 causes heating has never been adequately explained.
  5. Optical depth, which is as good a measure of the ‘greenhouse’ effect as any, has not increased in 60 years of measurement.
  6. The amount of radiation leaving from the top of the atmosphere has increased which means CO2 is not trapping heat.
  7. Solar radiation at the surface increased during the crucial period of AGW warming from 1983-2001 and this by itself can explain the warming which took place during this period.
  8. Clouds are a negative feedback which means they are a brake to any warming.
  9. Water vapour has not increased as required by AGW theory.
  10. The Medieval Warming Period was at least as warm as today which means that the centre-piece of AGW, the hockey-stick, is wrong.
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